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cover
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solid writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 7
Back Cover
Back Cover
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Pagfeek Papers
Pagfeek Papers
REVIEW SCORE 4
Snarf #4
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1st Printing / March 1973 / 36 pages / Kitchen Sink Enterprises
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Snarf #4 features a delightfully burlesque front cover by Evert Geradts and adds Joel Beck and Howard Cruse to a growing line-up of first-rate contributors. Geradts leads off this issue with the six-page "Marion McKay's All-Animal Orchestra," which is a story about a scantily clad stage performer named Marion who travels with a five-piece animal orchestra (a horse, an elephant, a giraffe, a mouse and a rabbit). Ollie the elephant is secretly in love with Marion and has erotic fantasies about her, but when confronted by reality he becomes heartbroken. A pleasant read, but not particularly great.

After an amusing one-pager by Denis Kitchen and a decent two-pager by Beck, Mark Morrison makes his first appearance in Snarf with his trademark characters Great Uncle P. Bosco Wad ("Doc") and a frog named Hank. Doc and Hank were two of the central characters in Morrison's one-man comic Pagfeek Papers, a fair-to-middling book that had been published just a couple months prior to this ish of Snarf. Apparently Morrison had a few extra stories with Doc and Hank and they were relegated (or perhaps commissioned, what the hell do I know?) to Snarf.

In any case, Morrison's untitled four-page story here is rather witty, as Doc and Hank play a game of cards that's unlike any game I've ever played! The characters' clever word play and wry puns lend finesse to the seemingly improvised plot. Perhaps I should check out Pagfeek again and make sure I wasn't missing something, because this story was quite elegant compared to what I remember about Pagfeek.

Peter Loft, who debuted in the previous issue of Snarf, returns with "The Truth," a four-pager about a dog named Harvey who yearns to have intelligent conversations with girls but can't seem to find a willing partner. A wizard on a hilltop zaps Harvey with the power to "see the true meaning in what is talked about by others," but instead of helping Harvey the newfound power puts him right back where he started.

Tim Boxell (aka Grisly) contributes "Paper Sheets," a six-page satire on young romance comics that's pretty funny, as a blond bimbo laments that her true love slowly succumbs to the evil clutches of...classic literature. Richard "Grass" Green follows with "The Origin of Wild Man," a follow-up to his "Wild Man meets Rubberoy" from Snarf #2. Like the previous story, "The Origin of Wild Man" is a zany superhero spoof in the tradition of Mad, ridiculing the predictability of boilerplate superhero comics from DC and Marvel.

The book closes with three pages of newspaper-style comic strips, the latter two of which feature Barefootz comics by newcomer Howard Cruse. The Barefootz character debuted in the University of Alabama's student newspaper in 1971 and appeared in alternative tabloids in Birmingham. After Barefootz became a regular feature in Comix Book, Cruse and his friends funded the publication of Barefootz Funnies, which Kitchen Sink produced and distributed.

Snarf #4 is another solid issue of the title, but Denis Kitchen felt some of the sales momentum slipping away, as he printed only half as many copies (10,000) as the first three issues (20,000 each) before tacking on another 5,000 with a second printing. 10,000 copies would become the standard volume of printing for each subsequent book of the series, which would run 11 more issues over the next 17 years.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:
There are two printings of this comic book, both by Kitchen Sink. The 1st printing is easy to distinguish from the 2nd, as the 1st has a cover price of 50 cents and the 2nd has a cover price of 75 cents. Kitchen Sink printed approximately 10,000 copies of the 1st printing and 5,000 copies of the 2nd. Besides the price change, both editions indicate their printing on the inside front cover.
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For the 2nd printing, Kitchen Sink replaced Richard "Grass" Green's story, "The Origin of Wild Man," with two different stories; Denis Kitchen's "Fred the Louse" and the artist jam story "Let's Be Realistic Comics," which were both originally published in Hungry Chuck Biscuits. I don't know why they ousted Grass Green's story, but Kitchen Sink did a similar switcheroo with Grass Green's work in the 2nd and 3rd printings of Bizarre Sex #2. Other changes to the 2nd printing: the inside front cover (because of the table of contents), the inside back cover (because of advertising), and the back cover (not sure why).
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COMIC CREATORS:
Denis Kitchen - editor, 2 (text), 9, 31
Evert Geradts - 1, 3-8
Pete Poplaski - 2 (art)
Joel Beck - 10-11
Mark Morrison - 12-15
Peter Loft - 16-19
Tim Boxell (aka Grisly) - 20-25
Richard "Grass" Green - 26-30
Don Glassford (aka Gene Gessert) - 31
Bruce Walthers - 31
Howard Cruse - 32-33
Robert Crumb - 35 (ad)
Peter Manesis - 36
Snarf 4 2nd
2nd Printing
75-cent cover.